BEREA, Ohio (AP) -For one of the rare times in his football life, Brady Quinn was a game-day spectator. Instead of a helmet, he wore a brown-and-orange baseball cap. He carried a clipboard.
Quinn stood on the sideline and watched, maybe for one of the last times.
Tagged since April's draft as Cleveland's quarterback of the future, Quinn could soon become the Browns' man of the moment.
In the aftermath of a 34-7 drubbing against Pittsburgh in Sunday's season opener, Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel didn't rule out Quinn making his NFL debut this week against Cincinnati.
Quinn served as Cleveland's emergency quarterback on Sunday, but after both starter Charlie Frye and backup Derek Anderson failed miserably against the Steelers, the Browns may soon turn to their high-profile rookie from Notre Dame.
Is Quinn ready?
``You'll have to ask Brady that,'' said tight end Steve Heiden, one of the Browns' co-captains. ``But from what I've seen, I think he is.''
Quinn's readiness is at the heart of an internal debate raging inside Cleveland's team headquarters.
The Browns don't want to rush the 22-year-old Quinn into the starting lineup. But after seeing both Frye and Anderson throw interceptions, force passes into tight coverage, and in Frye's case, hold the ball too long, the club may have no other choice.
Quinn missed 16 practices during a holdout in training camp, and the Browns might feel he hasn't taken enough practice snaps to effectively run their offense against a rugged early schedule that includes Pittsburgh, Oakland, Baltimore and New England - all top 10 defenses last season.
The Browns' preference would be for Quinn to sit and learn for as long as possible. That's the short-term plan. What remains to be seen is how long Crennel and general manager Phil Savage stick with it if Frye and/or Anderson continue to struggle.
During his news conference on Monday, Crennel said he would not discuss any possible personnel moves with the media until he had spoken to his players following an afternoon film session and meeting.
Pressed by reporters on whether he felt Quinn was ready for the Bengals, Crennel, who dropped to 1-12 against AFC North teams, became annoyed with the line of questioning.
``For me to make a comment on where I think Brady is or where he is on the depth chart, that's making a personnel decision,'' Crennel said, ``so I'm not going to do that.''
Crennel did say Quinn would be part of any conversation about the quarterback situation, which became more muddled Monday when Ken Dorsey, released by the team on Sept. 1, was at the team's training facility.
Dorsey served as a mentor for Quinn during training camp, and his return could add credence to the Browns getting Quinn ready for the Bengals.
Crennel has been firm on not wanting to accelerate Quinn's growth track. And despite the lopsided loss - Cleveland's eighth straight to the Steelers - he hasn't changed his stance. Crennel felt throwing Quinn into Sunday's debacle in the fourth quarter would have done the rookie more harm than good.
Frye didn't have such protection.
After winning an open competition during the preseason over Anderson, Frye was yanked by Crennel with 6:34 remaining in the second quarter. By then, he had gone 4-of-10 for 34 yards, thrown a horrible interception and been sacked five times.
If that wasn't bad enough, some Cleveland fans booed Frye, while others chanted ``Bra-dy,'' ``Bra-dy.''
Crennel's quick hook of Frye could indicate the coach's lack of confidence in the third-year veteran, just 6-13 as a starter. Crennel felt the move was his only option in a game that was quickly slipping away.
``If you don't pull him your team might say: 'The coach is not doing enough to win, or to try to win,''' Crennel said. ``I think that Charlie didn't play his best game and he would say that he needs to improve. I don't think that he holds it against me for taking him out when I did. I was just trying to do what I thought was best for the team. That's what a coach has to do.''
Anderson was only slightly better than Frye.
He went 13-of-28 for 184 yards and produced Cleveland's only touchdown. While he may have a stronger arm than Frye or Quinn, Anderson has a tendency to make poor decisions with the ball.
But Anderson, who made three starts last season, remains a safe option if the Browns want to wait on Quinn.
Either way, Cleveland's quarterback drama drags on.
Heiden said that if Crennel decides to make a switch, he'll have the backing of everyone in Cleveland's locker room.
``Whoever he says is the guy, is the guy,'' he said. ``I think we're all on the same page and we all want the best person to play. You could ask 53 guys in this locker room and they'll all say the same thing.
``We all just want to win and the quarterbacks would say the same.''

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